Agape Boarding School Faces Lawsuits Over Student Abuse Allegations
A Missouri boarding school faces a growing number of lawsuits by former students, who say they were physically and sexually abused at the facility.
In September 2021, five employees at the Agape Boarding School, near Stockton, were charged with 13 counts of abusing students at the private Christian boarding school, following an investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Former students who attended the boarding school say they were the subject of physical abuse, torture, starvation and sexual abuse, which investigators say appeared to be standard operating procedures at the boarding school for nearly 30 years.
Nine of those former students filed lawsuits this week against the school and the Agape Baptist Church, which owns and operates it, according to the Kansas City Star. All attended the school between March 2015 and June 2019. These lawsuits join five others which have been filed against the school since February 2021.
Former students have described nightmarish incidents of torture, deprivation, and sexual assaults at the Christian boys boarding school, with some describing trying to sleep while hearing the screams of children crying as they were being assaulted, which reverberated through the halls.
On top of the boarding school abuse, the lawsuits also accuse the facility of violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, by deceiving parents and concealing information about what was being done to their children. The lawsuits claim parents were told, incorrectly, that Agape did not use corporal punishment, or restraint positions, such as chokeholds, except in brief and extreme circumstances. The students and investigators say that information was false.
The school also claimed it did not withhold food, but students say they were starved constantly, with some being placed on severely restricted diets of bread and a single scoop of peanut butter.
The students also claim they were denied medical treatment, taken off of prescription drugs in the belief they would be magically treated by God. And some say they were repeatedly sexually assaulted, and were punished when they attempted to report such abuses.
The school is still open and operating, and three of the five staff members charged with abusing students still work there, according to various media reports.
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